CHENNAI: The Income Tax department’s Benami Prohibition Unit in Chennai has provisionally attached properties in and around the city worth Rs 300 crore allegedly belonging to ousted AIADMK leader VK Sasikala on Monday.
She is said to have purchased these properties, including a site across from late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s Veda Nilayam residence, through shell companies.
I-T sources said that a notice had been served to Sasikala at the Parappana Agrahara Prison in Bengaluru, the benami company and the various Sub-Registrar Offices (SROs) under whose jurisdiction the properties are situated.
Sasikala is serving out a four-year sentence after being convicted in a disproportionate assets case in 2017.
According to I-T department sources, one of the alleged benami companies is 'Sri Hari Chandana Estates Private Limited', a private incorporated company, established on March 9, 1995.
The company is involved in real estate activities and is registered in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad.
It is alleged that between 2003-05, Sasikala purchased around 65 properties to the extent of 200 acres, now worth around Rs 300 crore, through Sri Hari Chandana Estates Private Limited.
The company, represented by one Kaliyaperumal and Sivakumar, was also associated with several other firms linked to Sasikala, such as 'Jazz Cinemas Private Limited' and 'Midas Golden Distilleries Private Limited', according to the Registrar of Companies’ website.
The I-T department, in its notice to the jailed leader, said its investigation had revealed that the properties situated around Chennai were purchased using the shell company.
These properties include a plot of 10 grounds (24,000 sq.ft) across from Veda Nilayam in Poes Garden where Sasikala’s proposed residence was to be constructed.
The BPU had found that the property was owned by Binny Mills Ltd.
The other properties were in Poes Garden, Alandur, Tambaram, Guduvanchery and Sriperumbudur. It is alleged that a piece of land owned by a factory in Alandur was purchased by the company.
The shell company had neither the business nor income required to purchase these properties, the notice said, adding that after the I-T department’s investigation it was found that these were benami properties of Sasikala.
It is also alleged that after demonetisation, Sasikala entered into Benami transactions for nine properties to the tune of Rs 1,600 crore.
The BPU had also attached those properties and the Adjudicating Authority in New Delhi has commenced its proceedings under the Prohibitions of Benami Property Transactions Act.